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Methodological approach



During the last decade, the work of many research groups have provided compelling insight into the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for the induction and stability of synaptic changes and the acquisition and storage of new memories in the mammalian brain. This achievement has been possible thanks to the convergence of very different disciplines and methodologies. Our team uses an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the role of transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms in neuronal plasticity and memory formation. We combine bottom-up (based on the generation of genetically modified mice and their parallel analysis at the biochemical, molecular, electrophysiological and behavioral levels) and top-down approaches (based on the application of global techniques for the analysis of gene expression and chromatin remodelling in the brain of behaving animals) to investigate this challenging question.

Specifically, we are using the following methodologies:



•    Mouse genetics

We are currently working with diverse strains of genetically modified mice, including inducible transgenic lines and conditional knockouts.




•   Molecular and cell biology techniques

We use conventional techniques to analyze gene expression, such as western-blot, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, quantitative RT-PCR, etc.





•   Genomics

We are interested in investigating genome-wide changes in gene expression and transcriptional regulation in vivo. To this end, we are applying recent methodological advances in the field, including a number of next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based techniques.




•   Electrophysiological studies

Our analysis of acute hippocampal slices includes measures of neuronal excitability, intrinsic membrane properties and synaptic transmission and plasticity.

Dr. Mikel Lopez de Armentia, a former member of the team, prepared this interesting introductory video to electrophysiological recordings with the collaboration of Stuart Ingham, INA's graphic designer (sorry, at the moment, soundtrack is only available in Spanish).  video




•     Behavioral studies

We have established a battery of behavioral tasks to evaluate basic mouse behavior and, more precisely, to assess explicit forms of memory. This battery includes fear conditioning, spatial learning at the Morris water maze, object recognition, etc...

You can see here a video showing how a mouse learns to navigate in the Morris water maze, a common task to evaluate learning and memory in rodents.  video




 

 

 

 

 

Instituto de Neurociencias
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Universidad Miguel Hernández (UMH)

Av. Santiago Ramón y Cajal s/n
03550 San Juan de Alicante

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